Rebounding from their first loss of the season, the Hoyas used a full team effort to get back in the win column against Appalachian State, one of the highest scoring teams in the country.
Senior guards Chris Wright (12 assists) and Austin Freeman (14 points) and junior guard Jason Clark (15 points, five steals) pulled their weight, especially during an impressive, defense-fueled run to start the second half.
But the story on this afternoon was the contributions made by the bench.
“We have a group of guys who are ready to contribute,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “They come and they do their job, and they do what they’re supposed to do. I said this during the first press conference of the year, I think we have a unit [in which the] five guys out there [don't] really matter. It depends on each individual game and what is working, but our bench players are ready and have contributed. And we expect that of them.”
Thompson’s reserves combined for 35 points, including a career-high 11 from freshman forward Nate Lubick, who also grabbed seven rebounds and played confidently.
“He was aggressive, which is good,” Thompson said. “We need Nate to be aggressive. He also threw a couple of passes that a lot of freshmen don’t see.”
Once again, junior center Henry Sims played big minutes (24), scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and played well defensively. Sophomore guard Vee Sanford and freshman guard Markel Starks, both of whom played throughout the game, combined for eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. One player who barely got in on the action, however, was sophomore forward Jerrelle Benimon (six minutes).
The loudest Verizon Center got was during the final two minutes of the contest when freshman forward Moses Ayegba, who had been suspended for Georgetown’s first nine games, made his debut. A strong, long-armed physical specimen, Ayegba showed polish, scoring four points, which included two smooth free throws. In his first collegiate game, he looked comfortable in the offense, albeit for a couple of minutes, and showed a quick flash of what he can bring to the Hoyas’ mix this season.
“Our post play will be done by committee this year,” Thompson said. “So we have to make sure that when they’re supposed to be in that committee that they show up that day.”
Led by Wright, Georgetown assisted on 27 of its 36 made field goals, and spurred by senior forward Julian Vaughn (eight points, eight rebounds in 14 minutes), the Hoyas outrebounded the Mountaineers 35-27. Perhaps most importantly, Georgetown hunkered down as a team to start the second half and turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 29-point victory, thanks in large part to its defense.
“We just [made defense] the emphasis at halftime and came out with three stops at the beginning of the second half,” Wright said. “When we get into transition, it is tough to stop us because we have so many options. If we get stops and rebounds, it opens up a lot of options for us, and we don’t give the defense a chance to set by scoring quickly.”
In the middle of a two-game calm before a road date with Memphis and the start of league play, the Hoyas continued to develop the depth that they will need to stay alive in the Big East’s war of attrition. “
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